If You Only Walk Long Enough
Text ©2003 Roger E. Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Daria and associated characters are ©2003 MTV Networks
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: email@example.com
Synopsis: A ten-year-old girl, in abject misery at summer camp, has an unexpected conversation with a talking cat.
Author’s Notes: The reader is assumed to have a working knowledge of the major characters from the “Daria” series, so prolonged personal introductions are not given in the story. The rest of the notes are at the end of the tale.
Acknowledgements: Wondrous amounts of gratitude are given to the following beta-readers: Crusading Saint, Galen Hardesty, Grimm Ripper, Medea42, RedlegRick, Renfield, Robert Nowall, Thea Zara, and THM. Thank you, one and all.
“Cheshire Puss,” [Alice] began . . . “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The woods around were unfamiliar, which did not surprise the ten-year-old girl, as she was unfamiliar with every forest in existence. However, she assumed she was still inside the campgrounds and had somehow gotten separated from the other campers—not a bad thing, really, except for being alone in the woods with no clue where she was. She sighed, pushed her long auburn hair out of her face, and was on the verge of examining the local plants to find a few edible ones when she looked up and saw the Cheshire Cat, perched on the limb of a nearby tree. It watched her with a wide, cheery grin.
The girl stared, blinked, and pushed her large round glasses to the top of her nose, but the Cheshire Cat was still there.
“I’m more lost than I thought,” she said aloud, her voice full of wonder.
“You could be lost only if you were heading somewhere,” said the Cat. “If you are merely standing in place, you are not lost at all.”
The girl nodded, half-expecting an answer like that. “Oooh-kay,” she said. Just to be sure, she cleaned her glasses on her green camp t-shirt and put them on again. She feared the Cat would be gone after she did, but she saw it was still in the tree, exactly as she had last seen it. She smiled—but a moment later her face fell, her smile gone.
“You are troubled,” said the Cat. Its grin faded slightly in reaction.
“This is just a dream,” said the girl, deeply depressed. “I’m going to wake up soon and I’ll be in the bottom bunk on the smelly end of Cabin Five Thirteen, with the big cracks in the wall where all the peeping toms, squirt-gun freaks, and mosquitoes hang around outside. I’ll be back in Hell.”
“At Camp Dragonfly,” said the grinning Cat.
“Yeah, the worst possible . . .” The girl stopped and squinted hard at the Cat. “How the heck did you know that?”
“Ah,” said the Cat, its grin widening. “Every person at Camp Dragonfly, from camper to counselor, is mad—would you agree?”
“Yes,” said the girl, frowning. “They’re crazy as loons. Mad as hatters. They—” She let out her breath and rolled her eyes. “Oh, I get it.”
“Mad as the March Hare,” said the Cat. “I’m familiar with mad people and mad places—thus, I know about Camp Dragonfly.”
“Of course,” said the girl, her face clearing. “You certainly would.” After another pause, she took a breath and added, “My name is Daria. Daria Morgendorffer.”
“My pleasure,” said the Cat. It blinked. “You are scheduled to make a yarn-and-bead friendship bracelet after breakfast today.”
“Yeah,” said the girl, her frown returning, “but who the heck am I supposed to give it to? I don’t have any friends here. My little sister gets six dozen of those bracelets every time she goes to camp. She’s in the little kids’ section a mile down the road, but all the way over here, everyone talks about how wonderful and beautiful and popular she is. I could barf!” She scuffed a boot in the dirt. “Later today I have to run the obstacle course, and then do slave labor cleaning lunch trays as punishment for not participating in the Color War.” Her frown deepened. “Let’s talk about something else, if we could. I don’t want my dreams to be as miserable as my waking time.”
“Pick a topic,” said the Cat agreeably.
Daria thought. “Well, I go back to Highland Elementary in two months, but we can forget that. That’s no fun. Today’s July fourth, and we have fireworks tonight, but—” Fuming, she stopped and muttered, “Damn it, I’m thinking about reality again!” With a dejected look, she squatted down on the heels of her black hiking boots, under the nearest tree. “I might as well wake up now and run outside to do jumping jacks till I’m dead, just like every other stupid morning for the last week. I’m just so mad!”
“That is obvious,” said the Cat. “You are talking to a cat.”
“No, I mean I’m angry!” said Daria crossly. “I’m really angry! I’m talking with the one and only Cheshire Cat, and I can’t get away from reality, not for one damn second, and it’s so unfair it’s driving me insane!”
“If you were truly mad—as in insane,” corrected the Cat, “you would not be upset in the least. You would be happy as a clam.”
Daria snorted. “I imagine the clams here are quite happy, just like the oysters.”
“Indeed. They stay inside their shells, never communicate with another being all their lives, never worry about being understood or appreciated or loved, are preyed upon by walruses at every turn—and they are as happy as happy can get.” The Cheshire Cat paused in reflection. “They are quite mad, of course.”
“As am I, probably,” said Daria in a low voice, looking at the dirt at her feet. “Mad as in crazy. That, too.”
The Cat studied Daria with its unblinking stare. “I wonder if perhaps you are not quite mad enough.”
Daria snorted and looked up at the Cat. “What do you mean?”
“You are not as happy as a clam, so you have not completely lost your mind.”
“So, I’m not mad—or not very mad.”
“Yet you are talking with a large cat in a tree.”
“So, I am mad—or just dreaming.”
“Hmmm,” said the Cat. Perhaps it was purring.
“I’m dreaming,” said Daria resolutely. “It’s like being mad, I guess, but it’s a normal kind of mad. Still—” Her expression grew dark again “—I could just about go crazy when I wake up. I’m okay now, mostly, talking with you, but when I have to get out of bed, in no time at all I feel like I’m about to explode.”
“Then, you are not insane.”
“If you think you are insane, you have insight, and thus are rational and sane,” the Cat said patiently. “If you think you are sane, you have no insight, and thus are irrational and insane.”
“Oh. Catch-22,” said Daria glumly. “Does it really matter if I’m crazy or not?”
“No,” said the grinning Cat.
“I wish I were insane,” Daria said, looking at the ground. “I mean totally crazy, just—just out of it, so nothing would bother me. My mom made me go to this camp. I told her this was one big mistake, but she doesn’t listen to me about anything. My dad has no clue what I do or what I think or how I feel, and my bratty little sister has a million friends, and I don’t have one. Not one! Everyone loves her, and they act like she’s a movie star and fall all over her, no matter what I accomplish, and it drives me crazy! All the other kids call me Freak or Weirdo or Four-Eyes, and they pull practical jokes on me because I won’t talk to them or play with them, I just want to read and be left alone, and they can all stuff dynamite up their butts and take a running jump and go straight to—”
“You are lonely,” said the Cat.
Daria’s mouth was open, but the sudden flow of words stopped when the Cat spoke. After a pause, she closed her mouth and nodded once, somberly.
“Yet, you are surrounded by people, everywhere you turn.”
“So, I am mad,” grumbled Daria, “or else I’m really, really ticked off.”
“You are lonely,” said the Cat again, but its grin did not seem to mock her.
Daria looked down at her knees, then studied the forest again. “I think I would like to stay here for a while,” she finally said. She looked up at the Cat. “Do you mind?”
“Not at all,” said the Cat cheerfully. “Stay as long as you like.”
Daria looked thoughtfully into the woods. “What is everyone else here doing today?”
“The Queen is having a badminton
game this afternoon. Everyone is invited to attend—in a mandatory sort of
way—but you needn’t worry about going. I have no idea where the Duchess is. The
White Rabbit is away on business for the Knave, and the Hatter, Hare, and
Dormouse are having tea, as always. Would you care to join them?”
“No,” said Daria in a quiet voice. “I’d prefer your company. At least you listen to me. I doubt that anyone else here would. One friend is enough for me.”
The Cheshire Cat’s grin grew even broader. “You remind me of another young girl who passed by here, but a few moments ago. She, too, was lonely.”
“Alice,” said Daria, remembering. “Alice Liddell. That’s funny. She was ten years old, too, just like me, when she—”
“That was not her name,” said the Cat.
Daria looked up at the Cat in surprise. “Not Alice? You’re sure?”
“Quite sure,” said the Cat.
“Someone else was just here, besides Alice and me?”
“I see a great many people,” said the Cat, “but not many who care to talk with me. She did, and you did.” The cat blinked once. “Your paths will cross one day, but in your own world.”
“Really?” said Daria after a pause. “I’ll get to meet her? Do you think—oh, forget it. That’s impossible. This is just a dream.”
“The impossible is merely the undiscovered,” said the Cat.
Daria was not sure how to respond to that, so she tried a new topic. “Can you predict the future?”
“Only if it’s mad. Today, for instance—” The Cat blinked again “—the syrup on your breakfast waffle will have a large bug in it. Your friendship bracelet will come unraveled, and you will fall in the mud climbing over a log on the obstacle course. The counselors will let you out of cleaning dinner trays, but you will be stung by a wasp before bedtime. Tomorrow, you will fall in the lake while canoeing, and your continuing argument with the counselors over whether kickboards are the work of the Devil will lead to your cleaning the dinner trays then.”
The news distressed Daria, but hearing it given as a flat prediction intrigued her nonetheless. “Can I avoid any of that?” she asked carefully.
“The syrup, yes, by picking
something different to eat. Someone else will get the bug. You can avoid the
mud by climbing over the ends of the logs, not the middle. Don’t bring up Satan
when discussing kickboards, and you might do well. The rest of it, I doubt you
can avoid—the wasp, maybe, if you are careful.”
“Oh,” said Daria. “Okay.” After a moment, she hastily added, “Thank you.”
“You are welcome,” said the Cheshire Cat, and stretched lazily, its great claws showing. It then curled up on the limb as before, grinning merrily at her.
“That other girl,” asked Daria in a low voice, “the one who was lonely, where did she go?”
“That way,” said the Cat, pointing a paw in the direction of a narrow forest path. “Just before you got here.”
“What was her name?”
“She never gave it,” said the Cat, “but it was not Alice. I am sure of that.”
“What was she like, then?”
The Cat appeared to consider this. “She likes art,” it finally replied.
“Did she seem like . . . like . . . do you think she might be a friend? Like, friends with me?”
“You will find out when you meet her,” said the Cat. “Making predictions is difficult when other people are involved. Escaping punishment tomorrow night, for instance, will be tricky. You are fond of your Devil argument.”
Daria nodded. That was true. It drove the counselors crazy. She smirked and looked down the path, still sitting on her boot heels. “I guess I could find out,” she said, standing up and dusting herself off. “How long until I catch up to her, if I hurry?”
Blink. “A little over six years,” said the Cat.
Daria looked at the Cat in disbelief. “What?” she cried.
“You will see her in just over six years, if you follow that path.”
Daria’s mood collapsed. “So, why bother to take the path?” she said bitterly.
“If you do not take that path,” said the Cat evenly, “you will not see her at all.”
Daria fidgeted, staring down the path. Her lips pressed tightly together as she considered her options—and chose. “I’d better go, then,” she said to the cat. “It’s not you,” she added by way of apology. “I . . . I just need to check something out.”
“As you wish,” said the Cat, still grinning. “Good luck.” And it disappeared right before Daria’s eyes. She gasped when it vanished, having expected it would slowly fade out instead.
Regaining her composure, Daria straightened her camp clothing and set out along the path at a brisk pace. In seconds, her pace picked up until she was almost running, straining to see through the dense trees and undergrowth. It appeared that a clearing was ahead. Daria found herself racing for it, hoping to catch a glimpse of this other lonely person, hoping that she might find the girl before she got too far. There! She saw bushes rustling on the far side of the clearing, where someone had just passed! She ran like the wind. Her left boot struck down on the grass of the clearing—
A shrill whistle jerked Daria upright on her squeaking bed. The sweaty sheets and itchy woolen blanket fell aside. For a fraction of a second, she didn’t know where she was or what was happening. She remembered then—and she fell back on her pillow, her hands covering her face in despair. A wail escaped her lips.
“Okay, Dragonfly campers, let’s move it!” screamed a tall, blonde, athletic female counselor striding into the cabin. A whistle dangled from the chain around her neck. “Get your nasty butts out of bed! Put on some drawers, get decent, and get your tails outside for calisthenics! You especially, Morgendorffer! Now, now, now! Move it!”
“Six years!” Daria whispered through clenched teeth. She pressed her fists into her eyes until she saw stars. “Damn it, damn it, damn it!”
Jumping jacks came and went. Daria had creamed chipped beef for breakfast, and the tall, blonde, athletic female counselor got the bug in the syrup. Daria’s friendship bracelet came unraveled, and she threw it away. She did not fall in the mud on the obstacle course and avoided the big wasp that stung the bullying camper she liked least, but on the following day she fell in the lake while canoeing, and a snide remark about kickboards led to an hour of cleaning dinner trays in punishment. Oddly, she didn’t mind it at all.
A little over six years passed. She had stopped thinking about the dream long before then. It just wasn’t very logical, and the world was not kind to dreams.
“Get me a screwdriver, in the first drawer on the left in the kitchen, quick,” said the wiry, raven-haired girl named Jane Lane. Jane strained against the armchair, shoving it at last against the front door of her home. Daria left and returned with the screwdriver. Jane unscrewed the plate from the doorknob and jammed the screwdriver into the mechanism. “That should do it,” she said, checking her work. “Are the windows locked and shades all pulled?”
“Aye-aye, captain,” said Daria in her best deadpan. This was rather exciting. Being with Jane in this new town, Lawndale, was loads more fun than doing anything back in Highland. “The Titanic is now unsinkable.”
“Back door’s locked . . . can’t think of any other way in they could use.”
“Shields are up. All hands prepared to repel boarders.”
“Good, then they can’t serve papers on me and foreclose on the place. Don’t look out the windows. I’ll have to remind Trent about that when he wakes up.” Jane turned to her new friend. “I appreciate the help.”
“Always glad to take up a cause, if it’s strange enough.”
“We Lanes can be pretty strange, when we feel like it. Let’s go upstairs to my room. ‘Sick, Sad World’ should start in ten minutes.”
The two stomped upstairs in their heavy boots. Daria felt curiously content—no, she was happy. She was amazed to realize that she was actually happy. Quinn had made friends the second she’d arrived at Lawndale High yesterday morning, being approached by a girl in pigtails with two fashion-maven friends, but Daria had met Jane just today, in the damnable after-school self-esteem class in which she’d become entrapped. Jane was cool beyond words, an outcast like Daria. Don’t get too excited, Daria warned herself, but keeping control of her reactions was becoming difficult. Had she found a friend at last?
“You said your dad’s in Alaska and your mom’s in Ireland?”
“Theoretically,” said Jane. “Mom was supposed to leave me some checks for the mortgage, but my oldest brother Wind called at the last minute before she got a cab for the airport, and she got distracted. Hmmm, I wonder if she left the checkbook. I could forge something if I had to.” She opened the door to her bedroom and led Daria inside, leaving the door ajar.
“You’re suspiciously devious for someone who’s repeated a course in self-esteem five times in her sophomore year.”
“I like to think of myself as creative, thank you. Actually, I draw a lot during Mr. O’Neill’s lectures. It’s good practice. I’ve just about got his face down pat, and the new kids are always a challenge to draw.”
Jane pulled her TV set to the bed and turned it on. “Tell me if you hear Trent get up,” she said absently. “Need to warn him not to go outside.”
Daria nodded as she browsed Jane’s bookshelves. Many of the volumes were art collections. A title on a small, well-worn book caught her eye, and she reached for it.
A little over six years, said the Cat.
Daria jerked her fingers back from the paperback copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Jane turned from the TV. “What?” she said.
Daria turned to Jane with wide eyes. “What?” she repeated back, her mouth suddenly dry. She looked around the bedroom, seeing it anew. An artist’s canvas on an easel, clay and sculpting tools on a desk, cutouts from magazines arranged in a large collage, the sketchbook Jane used during the self-esteem class—
She likes art, the Cat had said.
“You made a noise,” said Jane. “You gasped or something.”
“I . . . um . . . you have the Alice books.” Daria felt light headed, as if her soul were leaving her body. This isn’t happening! she thought, feeling as mad as mad could be. This can’t be happening!
“Oh, yeah,” said Jane, turning back to the TV set to change channels. “I love those books. I saw a cat once, long time ago, that looked just like the Cheshire Cat. Can you believe that? It almost looked like it was grinning.”
Daria slowly pulled the book from the shelf. It fell open in her hands.
The Cheshire Cat grinned down at Alice in a Tenniel illustration for chapter six, “Pig and Pepper.” It grinned at Daria as well. Oh, my God.
Her back to Daria, Jane smiled. She was thinking of a neighbor’s cat she’d seen several years ago, one with curious patches of fur by its mouth that made it look like it was smiling. Shame the cat ran off. She turned around again upon hearing Daria mumble something. It sounded like Daria had whispered, “Thank you,” just before she put the Alice book away. Jane shrugged. Everyone loved the Alice books.
“Show’s on,” said Jane. “Come have a seat and enjoy the chaos.”
“Sure thing,” said Daria, walking over stiffly. Her voice trembled. She would never mention this to Jane. It was entirely too crazy.
“You look a little pale,” said Jane, glancing up. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” said Daria, her deadpan in place again, but her words sincere. She sat back on the bed. “I’ve never felt better in my entire life.”
“Must be from the paint fumes,” said Jane, and they watched the show together.
“Kuh-winn Morgendorffer, you have completed your first day as a full-fledged, official member of the freshman-class Fashion Club of Lawndale High School, and a full day as our new vice president!” announced Sandi Griffin in her deep, Valley Girl drawl. “Congratulations! Let the fashionably challenged beware!”
Stacy Rowe and Tiffany Blum-Deckler applauded and gave Quinn Morgendorffer quick hugs, and Sandi proclaimed the business of the Fashion Club concluded for the day. They picked up their drinks from the floor of Sandi’s bedroom and went on downstairs. Sandi had to stay and clean up the dining room (her mother’s orders), and Tiffany had to go home, so it was up to club secretary Stacy to walk Quinn back to her house. Quinn’s official welcome luncheon was scheduled for Saturday at the local mall, after a thorough tour of the Junior 5 section of Cashman’s department store.
“I really appreciate you coming with me, Stacy,” said Quinn, tossing her long orange-red hair. “Your pigtails are adorable! Come on up to my room for a minute. I’m almost unpacked, and I found my scrunchie collection. I’ve got a few you can have—they’d go great with your outfit and complexion. And I picked up some makeup samples at a mall on our way here to Lawndale, plus this incredible perfume that will make your head swim. I think it’s just the thing for you.”
“Gee, thanks, Quinn!” Stacy cried. She stuck to Quinn’s side as if bolted there.
Quinn looked away and rolled her eyes. Stacy was sweet, but she acted as if Quinn were her long-lost twin sister. I guess I’m her best friend. Suppose it can’t hurt. She might know some cute guys. “And Stacy,” Quinn continued, “I really appreciated your vote yesterday to make me vice president of the club—and on my first day of school here! And just so that you know, I still think you were a super vice president and secretary before I became the new vice president. I only hope I can fill your shoes as you did! Of course, since we have the same size feet, that shouldn’t be too difficult, but still, your feet are just super! Your shoes, I mean. I think. Anyway, you’re the greatest!”
“Quinn, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in ages! Thank you!”
“Oh, you’re welcome. We’re birds of a fashion feather, and we have to stick together, or nest together, or peck—oh, however that thing goes.”
This can’t be happening, Stacy thought, beaming like the sun. She felt dizzy, almost on the verge of fainting or dancing or flying. She was almost crazy, as mad as mad could be. Dear God, this isn’t possible! Don’t let me be dreaming again!
It had been a long five years.
Does anyone else ever come along here? she had asked the grinning Cat. Anyone like me, I mean, not playing cards or chess pieces or talking animals? Not that there’s anything wrong with talking animals, you’re the best! I mean, wow! This is the best dream ever! But, I mean, does anyone else like me come by here?
The Cat blinked. Someone will be along just after you leave, in fact.
Oh! Can I come back and meet him? Her? Whatever?
No, because by the time she arrives, you will be gone.
Really? Darn it! I was really hoping to meet someone else here.
Blink. You will meet her again, in your own world.
What? You’re kidding! Will she remember this? Will she be my friend? I could really use a best friend! Not that Sandi and Tiffany aren’t my best friends, you see, but I could really use, you know, a really best best friend, like, someone who was really nice, not that Sandi and Tiffany aren’t nice, but someone who did not mind a little art, if I drew a little—not that I do!—but anyway, will I ever meet my best friend?
Blink. Yes, said the Cat. In five years.
Five years? Stacy cried. But you said that girl would come along right after I leave!
That is how things work here, said the grinning Cat from its perch in the tree. There is time enough here for anything.
Well, how will I recognize her? What’s my future best friend look like?
Blink. Red hair, the Cat said. Your best friend has long red hair.
Is she popular? Stacy asked, on the edge of tears. Can she make me popular, too?
You will see when you find her, said the Cat patiently. Predicting the future is difficult when other people are involved.
Oh! cried Stacy, and considered her options. Well, the sooner I leave, the sooner she’ll get here, so okay! I’m leaving! Thank you!
You are welcome, said the Cat, and it vanished, taking its grin with it.
Stacy ran along the path as if her feet were made from the wind. She kept looking back, however, hoping to catch a glimpse of the person who would become her best of all friends, the person who would take away the emptiness in her life. She looked back one time too many, and her left foot caught a root or a rock, and she fell—
—and woke up in her bed in Lawndale. She beat her pillow in frustration and rage until the seams ripped, then she cried for an hour.
After that, she waited and told no one. Five years passed.
Because she treasured this dream over all her other dreams, Stacy reflected upon it often and even applied a certain amount of logic to it. She’d had the dream on July fourth, when she was ten years old. That did not mean that her new friend would have the Cheshire Cat dream when she did, or even be the same age as Stacy. Long a devotee of the Alice stories, Stacy knew that time in Wonderland did not work like time in the real world. Her future best friend could have had her own Cheshire Cat dream at any time of the year, in any year—but that did not matter. It mattered only that her best friend would come.
She waited and waited, hoping against hope, and so it was in her fifth year that she was chatting with Sandi and Tiffany about fashion violations that very ordinary morning when a blue Lexus pulled up to the front of Lawndale High School and two new girls got out, and the first new girl out had long red hair. Stacy saw the beautiful girl with the long red hair and was too surprised even to hyperventilate, and she said the first thing that came into her head. “Hi! You’re cool. What’s your name?”
“Quinn Morgendorffer,” the new girl said, and the waiting was over, just like that. Five years. It was worth every second of it.
Stacy wondered if she would ever tell Quinn about her dream, ever dare ask if Quinn had had the same dream—no, no, that would never happen. It was enough that the dream had come true. It risked too much to examine the gift too deeply, to wonder if the Cat had not bothered to correct certain assumptions Stacy had had about her future friend also being the person who followed after her in her dream. Was it Quinn who followed her to the Cheshire Cat, or someone else? It could even have been that other new girl, the one with auburn hair who got out of the car with Quinn—but it didn’t matter, like the Cat said regarding the state of being mad. It didn’t matter at all, now.
Stacy took a deep breath and reinforced her decision as she walked at Quinn’s side. She would no more tell Quinn about the Cheshire Cat dream than she would ever show Quinn the secret notebook she kept of her sketches—dresses and gowns, funny animals, anime characters, horses, and grinning cats sitting in trees, smiling down upon the mad world like angels from an asylum. The Fashion Club frowned upon excessive creativity—that was for weirdoes like artists, or brainy nerds, not the crème de la crème of high-school womanhood. So, Stacy kept her notebook hidden and added to it only when no one else could see. It was her fifteenth artistic notebook in a row.
“Heh-LO-oh?” Quinn said. “Are you there? This is my house.”
Stacy started. “What? Oh, I’m sorry, I kind of drifted off! Please forgive me! I won’t do it again!”
“No problem! Are you feeling all right? You look a little pale. We should get out of the sun before we get wrinkled.”
“I’m fine!” cried Stacy Rowe with sincerity. “In fact, I’ve never felt better in my entire life!”
“Hmmm, that might be from sunstroke,” said Quinn. “We’d better get inside quick.” And they spent the afternoon looking at scrunchies together.
Author’s Notes II: This is, of course, a crossover “Daria” tale. To avoid spoiling the story, “Author’s Notes” was moved here to the story’s end. The events in this tale were sparked when my youngest son took part in a summer-camp play based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. Everything is fodder for a writer.
Camp Dragonfly is mentioned with little detail in “Masochist’s Memories,” in The Daria Diaries. The events in Part II are based upon a section of Daria’s diary in the same book, telling of her first afternoon with Jane, as well as upon events in “Daria” episode #101, “Esteemsters.” The stories of young Daria written by Galen (“Lawndale Stalker”) Hardesty must be counted as an inspiration, as must a number of fanfic stories about Stacy Rowe’s secret artistic leanings and fetish for SF and anime (including such diverse tales as “The Scorpion Quinn,” by Brandon League; “A Day in the Life of Stacy” and “The Death of Stacy,” by Austin Covello; and “The Emancipation of Stacy Rowe,” by Yui Daoren). The tale of Wonderland was first told to ten-year-old Alice Liddell and her two sisters on a boat trip on the Thames, on July 4, 1862. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appears online in its entirety (complete with Tenniel artwork) at: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/People/rgs/alice-table.html
Original: 8/26/02; revised 1/20/03; revised 8/4/03
Crossover (“Alice”), past (summer camp, Highland)